Took SEC504: Difference between in-class and on-demand

sec_jestersec_jester Posts: 12Member ■■□□□□□□□□
I recently took SEC504 in Boston with Adrien as the teacher. The class was very so-so, and people (myself included) lost interested by the third day. I was surprised as the reviews from this class seem to be really good.

Now that I am listening to the audio files of the class, I think I know why. I have maybe gotten to the second day of audio content by John Strand and it is like I am listening to a different class. John mentions things in class that Adrien didn't. John spends time on certain items, brings them up in context and even recommends follow up material. I got none of this from my class.

This is my first class from SANS that was not taught by someone who made the class, and maybe that is the issue I am running into. I understand there is probably no recourse at this time and I just have to make due to with the books and audio files.

Comments

  • TechGuru80TechGuru80 Posts: 1,539Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    Different instructors will focus on different areas...doesn’t matter what course you take or by which vendor. The instructors face a lot of vetting so be assured they are qualified. It’s pretty hard for any class to stay completely focused for an entire boot camp because they are mentally exhausting.

    The exams come from the course books not necessarily what is said...the paragraphs below the slides are important.
  • TechGromitTechGromit A+, N+, GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Posts: 1,905Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Sorry your SANS experience wasn't all it could be. My instructor was much better, not quite on the John Strand level, but pretty good none the less. Even my instructor left out some things that John mentioned in the recordings. For example for the capture the flag challenge, John said only 1 system could be infiltrated with metaspolit, a fact my instructor left out. My team spent considerable time trying to break into a 2nd system using it, wasting precious time.

    There's certainly more than just teaching the course material, John has considerable experience and is able to keep things interesting with stories of experiences he had on various contracts, usually reinforcing the material he's trying to teach you. I listened to him at a lecture at my last SANS event, it was standing room only all the way out into the hallway. He's a very popular instructor. Classes he teaches often have at least hundred students attending. The recording Eric Conrad made are good too. I only wish Lenny could make the Reverse malware engineering lectures as good. I guess there is an advantage of having a different instructor teach than who is on the MP3's to get a different view point. That's something I didn't get for SANS 610. Not to bash Lenny, but he's certainly not on the John Stand level of teaching.

    I guess part of the problem is there is a LOT of material to cover in a 600 level course, there isn't extra time to get side tracked into a story of his adventures. Often classes ran a half hour over the scheduled time, and one day it was past 6pm before he stopped. And I think we only finished one book cover to cover, the other books had 20 to 30 pages of material left we just didn't have time to get to. Lenny said there were just more exercises to re-enforce what we learned in class, but $100 bets at least some material from those pages will be on the exam.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • HornswogglerHornswoggler Posts: 63Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    John Strand is excellent, I usually enjoy his webcasts as well. For 560 I made sure to sign up for a class where Ed Skoudis was teaching. He could read me bedtime stories and could probably talk people off the cliff if he ever changes careers. I'm sure the other instructors are great but both of them are top notch.
    2018: Linux+, eWPT/GWAPT
  • TechGromitTechGromit A+, N+, GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Posts: 1,905Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    J... and could probably talk people off the cliff if he ever changes careers.

    Does this imply he can also talk people into jumping off cliffs?
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • HornswogglerHornswoggler Posts: 63Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'de probably fall for it...
    2018: Linux+, eWPT/GWAPT
  • 636-555-3226636-555-3226 Posts: 976Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    My team only goes to live training provided by the course instructor or the primary lead instructor for the course. for $6500, i make sure we get the best available and not the second-level guys.
  • TechGromitTechGromit A+, N+, GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Posts: 1,905Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    My team only goes to live training provided by the course instructor or the primary lead instructor for the course. for $6500, i make sure we get the best available and not the second-level guys.

    You make a good point, I just assumed all SANS instructors were top notch, but that doesn't appear to be the case. I was talking to an instructor and he said the compensation SANS pays instructors hasn't increased in several years, they even get a rate cut if not enough students attend. Make me seriously wonder how they continue to attract top experts in the field as instructors. They probably do it for advertising / networking purposes. If you have an incident were you need expert help who you going to call? Someone randomly out of the yellow pages? Or someone who taught you some cyber security classes and does consulting on the side?
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • aspiring_hackeraspiring_hacker Posts: 1Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    It's not so much whether the instructor is the course author that makes the course quality. I've had two experiences with SANS instructors who were not the course author. One literally read from the slides (poorly I might add) and the other did a phenomenal job. After listening to the MP3s, I'm REALLY glad that I didn't take it with the course author. I think the difference is what the instructor does outside of SANS. The instructor I didn't like was a professional instructor. I should have Google'd him before I took the class because I literally can't find anything that isn't SANS related about him. The one that was great has his own active consulting practice outside of SANS.

    The difference was obvious. The poor instructor just read from slides while the great instructor was able to connect the material to real world engagements he was working outside of SANS. Bottom line, I'll never take another class from a professional instructor. The classes are too expensive to risk getting another slide reader - I can read the slides on my own time. I come to SANS to learn how to actually do things, not hear some random guy with no real world experience read me slides...
  • JasionoJasiono Posts: 896Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    I recently attended the event in Vegas, and John Strand was amazing.

    He spoke very well and knew what he was talking about.

    Also, you can literally feel the pride he has in this field of work and he always shared stories to give a better context of the things in the book.

    He was amazing.
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